21 September, 2020

Paradise For Real

Paradise For Real
Living in dysfunctional Delhi, one tends to become suspicious of paradise. No wonder the mountain kingdom of Bhutan sounds a bit too good to be true. A benevolent and clued-on monarch, a pragmatic and functional development model and a stated objective by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuk to pursue "Gross National Happiness" rather than "Gross National Product". Pure air, bubbling streams, greenery to make a dollar note blush. Something's happening right in Bhutan, and the reasons aren't difficult to identify. Despite the discontent of a section of the Nepali-origin settlers, this is a homogeneous culture with its identity intact (or should that be the other way round)? Since the arrival of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1616, Bhutan has been a single political entity. Until '62, Bhutan existed in a suspended medieval timewarp. It had no roads, no electricity, no hospitals, no educational facilities, no newspapers, none of the apparatus of modernity. When Jawaharlal Nehru, accompanied by the young Indira Gandhi, visited Bhutan in '58, the journey required six days of travel by foot...


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